I would just like to say that there is no proof that Albert Einstein or Andy Warhol had Aspergers and I think the movement to authenticate this is ill-conceived, on many fronts.
I tell you, I must be missing something because I don’t get it. I don’t get what sounds like this debate: either embrace, celebrate, and accept your ASD child or rescue them. And the reason I don’t get it is that, (1) I am not trying to rescue, cure, or fix my son (2) I already embrace, celebrate, and accept my son, and (3) I most definitely AM trying to remediate the autism that my son has, not the autism that my son IS because my son IS NOT AUTISM. Or Asperger’s. He is a human being, uniquely gifted as all children are, with magnificent qualities and his own perfect expression of self.
And he has challenges, as we all do. And his challenges resulted in missing the developmental train, so to speak. Unless he’s provided with the opportunity to develop the ability to navigate the dynamic system of social interaction, things will be harder for him in the world, harder than those who didn’t miss the train.
Will he die? Will he wander the globe, lost, alone, and destitute? Not necessarily. Will he find a niche? Bring to light some singular achievement, expression, invention, work or art or technology? Maybe. Is the possibility of that taken away if the core deficits present in all those on the spectrum are ameliorated and even eliminated through remediation? I doubt it.
I wonder why this irks me so, because it really does–the idea that if you remediate the autism, you remove the gifts and rob children of their identity. What also irks me is the list of names that I found doing a google search “Famous people with Aspergers”. Here are some of them:
Ludwig van Beethoven
Alexander Graham Bell
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
George Bernard Shaw
Vincent Van Gogh
People: get a grip.
Does it begin to sound a teeny bit like those spoofs of darling Shirley Maclaine out there on her limb? Wherein, for a time, everyone discovered they had been Joan of Arc or Cleopatra or Mary Queen of Scots during past life regression therapy?
We all have autistic traits and tendencies. We all have sparks of genus. We all have untapped power, potential and vision.
When my son yells, ‘get out, go away” to a boy who trots by him at the playground, I know what I know by mothering with my heart. I don’t need to read a memoir to imagine what it must feel like to him. I know he’s not feeling right, safe, centered. And I know I want to do what I can so that he has the chance of experiencing life on the playground as fun, interesting, enjoyable.
Is there any mother out there not doing this? Not motivated by the same thing? Please help me with this; I really want to know. For those of you who are calling for greater acceptance, for a wider embrace of our differences as human beings, for a matter of fact inclusion of all personality types, learning styles, neurological landscape, for slashing ‘normal’ from our vocabulary, for valuing everything along the actual spectrum of minds out there, I say, yes! yes! a million times yes! And while we’re at it, let’s also remediate the autism.
I’ve been engaged in my own very personal story for most of the last year and a half. When I first started blogging I didn’t know of one other autism blog. I was too absorbed in what was going on within the walls of my home and those of my mind and heart. I know of many now because they found me and then I found more of them and I’m glad for that. I try to add every autism blog link to my sidebar. If I’ve neglected to include yours, please let me know. We need voices. We need connection and community. We need each others’ stories.
The politics of autism are explosive. There are many different views on autism beginning with whether or not autism and treatment are two words that belong together. Maybe I add ammunition by my position. Maybe I fan the flames. But I tell you this: I would never tell a grown person that they ought to be some other way, that they are wrong or in need of fixing, unless of course, they are my husband. We each have to find our own way in this world and I have the deepest admiration for the journey.
As a mother of a small child with a neurologic difference, a difference that I witness impacts him every day, that separates him from others, that distorts his self-image, the impedes what would be his natural feeling of competence and confidence, I am pulled not toward books on autism, but to books on human development. I want to maximize his own potential. He is my son. I want to help him build a solid hull, fit it with mast, tiller, rudder, keel, the proper ballast, and sails. And then I want to watch from the shore as he sets out on his own.